The Race for Oxford Professor of Poetry is Now Decidedly Nasty


Opponents of Derek Walcott’s candidacy for the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry have unleashed an anonymous campaign built on two allegations of sexual harassment against the St. Lucian Nobel Prize winner in the 1980s and mid-1990s. A “lurid dossier” detailing the charges against Walcott has been mailed to more than a hundred staff members and Oxford graduates eligible to vote in next Saturday’s election. The nastiness of this campaign is unprecedented in the history of the selection of the institution’s Professor of Poetry.

The Times has published an extensive article about the dossier, with reactions from Ruth Padel, who is also seeking the position. The article can be found at

The election is scheduled for Saturday May 16 and eligible voters have to cast their ballots in person.

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